Workers’ compensation, also referred to as "workman's comp," is a form of insurance that provides lost wages and medical benefits to employees who have sustained an injury while performing work-related duties.
Nearly every Massachusetts public and private employer is required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance; it doesn’t matter whether the business is for-profit or a charitable organization.
Most employers buy workers’ compensation insurance from insurance companies, and the insurance company pays out the benefits to eligible workers.
Understanding the Workers' Compensation Claims Process
Filing a workers' compensation claim can be a complex and overwhelming process. At Powers & Caccavale, our experienced Quincy workers' comp lawyers are here to guide you through every step of the claims process and ensure that your rights are protected.
Here is a brief overview of the workers' compensation claims process in Massachusetts:
- Report the injury: It is crucial to report your workplace injury to your employer as soon as possible. Failure to report the injury within the specified time frame may jeopardize your claim.
- Seek medical treatment: It is important to seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Your employer may have a list of approved healthcare providers that you should visit for treatment.
- File a claim: Once you have reported the injury and received medical treatment, you must file a workers' compensation claim with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA). Our attorneys can assist you with preparing and filing the necessary paperwork.
- Investigation and evaluation: The DIA will conduct an investigation into your claim, which may involve reviewing medical records, interviewing witnesses, and assessing the extent of your injuries. They will then determine the amount of benefits you are eligible to receive.
- Appeals process: If your claim is denied or you disagree with the decision made by the DIA, you have the right to appeal. Our skilled attorneys can help you navigate the appeals process and fight for the benefits you deserve.
Remember, the workers' compensation system is designed to provide financial assistance and medical benefits to employees who have been injured on the job. Our dedicated team is here to ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
Who Is Covered By Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Any bodily injury, illness, or worsening of pre-existing conditions caused by accidents at work are covered by workers’ compensation insurance in the state of Massachusetts. Both documented and undocumented workers are eligible, as well as volunteers and people who work for no pay.
Nearly all employees must be covered by workers' compensation coverage regardless of the number of hours worked or the number of employees a company has. The only exception to this rule is that domestic employees must work 16 hours per week to be covered. Visit mass.gov for more information about workers' compensation insurance requirements and eligible employees.
Injuries must extend past five calendar days in order to qualify for workers’ compensation, but the days do not have to be consecutive. Additionally, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning you do not need to prove that anyone was negligent. Even if you were at fault, you still get workers’ compensation benefits.
Should I Hire An Attorney For My Workers Compensation Claim?
Our team of qualified attorneys can help you with your claim in many ways. Not only are we well versed in this area of the law, but we are true advocates on your side, fighting for your best interest.
Call our firm today to find out how we can help you especially if:
- You have a preexisting condition
- Your claim has been denied
- Your permanent disability rating is in question
- You have an workers’ compensation hearing
Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you are injured on the job, your workers’ compensation benefits will include a percentage of your lost wages, which varies based on the injury and is capped at a maximum amount set by the state every year.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may be eligible for:
- Permanent and total disability: If you become totally and permanently disabled and cannot return to work, you may receive 2/3 of your average weekly wages that you earned before the accident (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 152, Section 34A).
- Temporary total disability: If you are unable to work for more than five days due to your workplace injury, you may be eligible to receive 60% of your weekly wages for up to three years.
- Partial disability: If you become partially disabled as a result of your injury, meaning that you can return to work but cannot perform at your previous earning capacity, you are entitled to partial disability benefits under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 152, Section 35. There are several ways to calculate those benefits; however, your maximum partial disability rate can’t exceed 75% of your temporary total disability rate.
Other available workers’ compensation benefits cover:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of function
- Death/Survival benefits
- Out-of-pocket expenses (crutches, wheelchairs, etc.)
- Property damage
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Physical therapy
Massachusetts Law Chapter 152, Section 28 states that workers’ compensation benefits will be doubled if the injury is caused by the employers’ “serious and willful misconduct.” This means that if an employer maintains a workplace that is dangerous and violates health and safety codes, you may be eligible for double workers’ compensation benefits.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 152, Section 31 states that a surviving spouse may receive death benefits from the deceased’s employer as long as she remains:
- And not fully self-supporting
Who Is Exempt From Workers' Comp In Massachusetts?
Members of an LLC, partners of an LLP, and sole proprietors of unincorporated businesses are not required by law to carry workers' compensation coverage for themselves, though they may still choose to add this coverage into their policies. Corporate officers who own at least 25% interest in the corporation may also file for an exemption from workers' compensation coverage.
Can You Collect Workers' Compensation After Being Fired?
Workers' compensation is a crucial safety net for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. It provides financial support for medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation services. However, one common question that arises is whether an individual can still receive workers' compensation benefits after being fired from their job.
Termination and Workers' Compensation
Being fired does not automatically disqualify you from receiving workers' compensation benefits. Here are some considerations:
- Timing Matters: If you were injured on the job and reported the injury before your termination, you are generally still eligible to file a workers' compensation claim.
- Retaliation: Employers are prohibited from terminating employees in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim. If you can prove that your firing was related to your injury or the claim, you may have a case for wrongful termination.
- Proving the Claim: To successfully receive workers' compensation after being fired, you must demonstrate that your injury or illness occurred at work and that your termination was unrelated to your claim.
If you are denied workers' compensation benefits after being fired, you may have alternative options:
- Short-Term Disability: Depending on your situation and state laws, you might be eligible for short-term disability benefits through a state program or private insurance.
- Legal Recourse: Consult with an attorney who specializes in workers' compensation and employment law to explore the possibility of legal action against your former employer for wrongful termination.
- Seek Legal Advice: Navigating the complexities of workers' compensation and termination can be challenging. Consulting with an attorney experienced in these matters is often the best course of action. They can help you understand your rights, gather evidence, and determine the most appropriate steps to take.
If an employer does not have workers' compensation coverage, the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) Office of Investigations may issue a stop work order (SWO) requiring them to cease all business activities until proof of coverage is provided. In this scenario, employees of uninsured employers can pursue a claim against the Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund.
Repetitive Strain Injuries
Back & Neck Injuries
Shoulder & Rotator Cuff Injuries
Scaffolding Ladder Falls
Trip, Slip & Falls
Neck & Spinal Cord Injuries
Foot, Heel & Ankle Injuries
Workers' Compensation Appeals
Our client was attacked by a pet inside a house.
Our client was injured in a car accident when her vehicle was rear-ended by a tractor trailer on a highway.
The client was hit by a large truck that ran a stop sign. She suffered post-concussion syndrome; shoulder injury requiring surgery.
Our client was a passenger in a motor vehicle that was rear-ended while on their way home after a Patriot’s football game.
Our client was operating her vehicle on Rt 1A going home from work. Another vehicle merged onto the roadway and caused a sideswipe collision.
Our client was rear-ended on the highway returning home from work.
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